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Columbia Energy Exchange

Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.
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Now displaying: February, 2020
Feb 29, 2020

As scientists and public health officials race to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease -- COVID-19, which first sickened people in China in December 2019 -- individuals around the world are grappling with the implications of a possible global pandemic. The virus has now spread to 50 countries and will test the strength and resilience of our global health system and infrastructure. This is a public health emergency, and while the leading concern remains the risk to human life, the spread of the virus also creates risk for the global economy and will have significant impacts on our energy system. Traders and investors are anticipating a severe economic slowdown, and oil prices have fallen sharply -- with eyes now focusing on next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna to see whether the cartel will step in to prop up prices. The energy sector is scrambling to understand the outlook for the virus and efforts to contain it. Our guest today is a leading expert on public health and disaster preparedness, who will help bring the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus into context.

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. Dr. Redlener is a nationally-recognized leader in disaster preparedness and public health system readiness and children's health advocate. He is the author of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now.” 

Dr. Redlener discusses critical and timely information, including what we know now about the COVID-19 disease, how we can prevent the spread of the virus, where to go for reliable information about the outbreak, and what the future impacts might be to public health, travel, the economy and more. 

Feb 24, 2020

America’s preferences for energy have changed substantially over the past decade, with natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency all recording big gains. Now, a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy sheds light on just what happened over that time and suggests what may lie in store over the next 10 years.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for the research service BNEF, and Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

The topic is the eighth edition of the “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” which the two organizations publish each year. This latest report chronicles the transformation in energy taking place in the U.S. not only for the year 2019 but also for the last 10 years. It’s full of details regarding the improving energy productivity of the U.S., the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy, the impact of record U.S. gas production on electric power supplies, and the often-overlooked advantages of energy efficiency.

Bill talked with Ethan and Lisa about these developments, and what may lie in store over the next decade or so for gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency, including how sustainable commitments to gas will be given growing concerns over carbon emissions from that fuel.

Feb 17, 2020

Climate change has not been a popular topic with Republicans in the U.S. Congress in recent years. Some deny the phenomenon is even happening, and others simply avoid the topic altogether. But that’s changing in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Republican leader and others are talking it up now and even offering an agenda for addressing climate change. So, what’s given rise to this burst of activity and what message are Republicans trying to send?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Representative Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican who’s one of the leaders of the climate change movement among members of his party in the House. Graves is the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a panel formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year to develop policy options on climate change.

Bill visited Representative Graves at his office on Capitol Hill just hours after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy unveiled four pieces of legislation as part of his party’s response to climate change. The measures would support global efforts to plant one trillion trees, promote more research on carbon-capture technologies and uses for carbon, and make permanent a tax break for companies that use the technology. It’s a mix of old and new policy ideas, some of which already enjoy bipartisan support.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the Baton Rouge native talked about what’s motivating him and his Republican colleagues to offer a climate change agenda now and how he distinguishes it from policy approaches taken by Democrats. He also discussed how these plans might fare with President Trump.

Feb 10, 2020

The world’s oil and gas supermajors have been managing lots of headwinds these days not only from the market, but also rising social pressures to move more urgently to address the threat of climate change. Some oil majors have been exploring low-carbon sources of energy, expanding their businesses into power and other parts of the energy sector even as most of their capital expenditures remain in their traditional businesses. As such, the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition is a timely and increasingly important topic. 

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Maarten Wetselaar, Director of Integrated Gas & New Energies and Member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell. He’s responsible for Shell’s gas business, including its industry-leading liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids businesses. He also leads the new energies business, including Shell’s investment in new fuels, new energy carriers, and new business models for a low-carbon future.

Jason and Maarten discuss the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition, and prospects for addressing climate change and reducing emissions, while meeting the growing demand for energy. 

Feb 3, 2020

The year 2020 promises to be a tumultuous one in the U.S. for any number of reasons, including a national election, an impeachment of the president and ongoing divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the future course of government. And among the issues that continues to heat up is climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless meets with two of the leading energy and environment reporters in Washington: Steve Mufson of The Washington Post and Amy Harder of Axios.

Steve has worked at The Post since 1989, covering the White House, China, economic policy and diplomacy as well as energy. His current beat is the business of climate change. Earlier, he worked at the Wall Street Journal in New York, London and Johannesburg.

Amy has been with Axios for three years, with her column, the “Harder Line,” a regular feature of the news service. Previously, she was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal.

Sitting down with top energy and environment reporters in January to talk about what’s in store for energy and climate issues in the new year has been a regular feature for Bill for several years now, and Steve and Amy offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the major stories and trends taking place. 

The program also offers Bill an opportunity to talk about the Energy Journalism Initiative, an annual seminar conducted by the Center on Global Energy Policy to help energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex issues associated with the beat. The deadline for applications is Feb. 16.

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